composer, keyboardist, producer, publisher
Music for artists like Merrill Collins is more than just a technique, a career or a lifestyle. It is a part of the essence of life itself. “Music is naturally, organically and inseparably connected to life, just as the shapes of DNA/RNA are spirals within our bodies," explains Collins. "Spirals have movement and constant flow and are an integral shape in nature." As such, the composer gathers her favorite musicians and creates the sounds of life.
Collins, who was born and raised in New Jersey, dedicated her life to music at age four. Her parents advised her teacher, a graduate of the Julliard School of Music, to help Collins develop her skills naturally. Years later, she attended Ithaca College School of Music and Humboldt State University where she completed her Bachelor's Degree in Piano, with a minor in composition. Merrill then completed a Master's of Music Degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music on a full scholarship.
The artist created Spiraling Music in order to produce and promote her unique and personal music, which features a catalog filled with various instrumental albums influenced by the work of artists such as Johann Sebastian Bach, Oliver Messiaen, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Herbie Hancock and many others. Many of her projects involve vocal tracks as well as instrumental ones.
Collins’ music combines her classical music training with contemporary improvisation, collaborating with other top-tier musicians. "My players often interact with each other like a musical conversation, where each person's intuition guides their commentaries and input," she explains. "We all work off the same basic chart, chords, melodies, and phrases which I compose, adding our various individual instruments to the collective sound." Every album is unique.
Her impressive resume extends to other areas as well. Merrill has performed and composed music for the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations, UNCHR Human Rights Day, Amnesty International, United Way, Pathways to Peace, UN World Habitat Day, Earth Day. At the Council for the Parliament of the World's Religions in Capetown South Africa 1999, her works were cited as "Gifts of Service to the World." Her production of Minute of Silence was featured in three languages in a global broadcast for the International Day of Peace. Merrill received a Global Peace Song Award 2016 for her composition "Every Man, Woman, and Child" which was included on the 2017 Project Peace on Earth compilation. She is a voting member of the Grammy Foundation (NARAS).
Merrill's video collaborations with her husband, photographer Yvon Chausseblanche, can be seen on YouTube. Merrill is available for live presentations and performances at conferences and events in the Los Angeles area. Contact Merrill as the publisher of all Spiraling Music titles to negotiate synchronization licenses.
Reviews for Merrill Collins:
"An artist who is responsive to her world."—Today's Artists
"By all accounts moving and inspiring. . . ." —United Nations Center for Human Rights.
"An extremely eclectic talent ...her music breathes life into all who hear it...emotive and relaxing. And as a person, a lovely woman with a passion for life and her craft. I am honored to have met her and to have worked with her."—Danie Cortese, President/CEO of Danie Cortese Entertainment & Publicity Inc.
"The relaxation response induces a profound state of deep rest, which when practiced and applied to our daily lives, can alter how we respond to physical and emotional stress. The music of Merrill Collins is, in my view, important in facilitating the transition into this state of deep relaxation." —Dr. Michael Irwin, Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology / Jane & Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior
"Internationally recognized composer/musician Merrill Collins has created an outstanding musical performance, played by master musicians who blend their artistry together to create a deeply rich, harmonious experience that transports the fortunate listener to their own inner temple of peace. And that is just my personal experience!"—Ellasara Kling for the Qigong Alliance newsletter
"We played Merrill's album during a week-long meditation retreat at Esalen Institute, and everyone loved it, and said so. We got such positive feedback."—Lorin Roche, Ph.D., teacher & author (The Radiant Sutras, Meditation 24/7, Whole Body Meditations)
"Merrill Collins' music has become a great asset to my workshops and retreats. It is rare to find music that can be a graceful transition from meditation to movement. I particularly love "Soyez Gentille" and "Sanctuary," as piano and cello are my favorite instruments. Merrill's melodies move us in toward the heart and outward into soulful expression. Ahh..." —Camille Maurine, creator of Moving Theater, author (Meditation Secrets for Women, Meditation 24/7)
"Radiant.... The cleverness of the performers on "Echapées" is simply sublime.... " —Steve Sheppard, One World Music
"Uniquely defying strict genre classification, the album’s lovely musical ensemble continually evolves and unfolds throughout, as one instrument often seems to transmute into another. Essentially meditative with a defined experimental edge, ‘Echappees Etheriques’ is sure to appeal to many fans of new age, neoclassical and improvisational instrumental music!"—Candice Michelle, Journeyscapesradio.com
"This production ["Ethereal Escapes"] conveys the utter vastness and beauty of the ether – encompassing at once new age, contemporary, and classical styles, with the Baroque forms of unmeasured preludes and ground bass meeting a contemporary melodic language." —Kabir Sehgal
"I have specialized over the last twenty two years in treating some of the most horrific cases of trauma an individual could imagine. I practiced at Duke University for over five and a half years developing a specific technique in treating emotional trauma. Your music plays a significant role in my work and in the healing and integration process for my patients" —Todd Brazee , PTSD counselor
"Pianist Merrill Collins and cellist Michael Fitzpatrick have perfectly interpreted, via music, the nature of constantly changing cloudscapes as well as the fluxing sky itself on "Sky Watching", an album that invites listeners to lay back, close their eyes, and immerse themselves in music which revels in "comfortable unpredictability." Flowing and amorphous, yet warm and engaging, contemporary classical fans will find much beauty here as well as those who favor meditative music beyond the ordinary." —Bill Binkelman, Retailing Insight
Listen to Merrill's interview on Mixcloud.
Laura Halladay is an elegant and versatile flutist and musician. Her live performances have included orchestra performances at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Ambassador Auditorium, and Schoenberg Hall. Most recently she has been touring with MESTO Orchestra in the middle east, performing in the Jerash Festival in Jordan and at the Cairo Opera House in Egypt. MESTO commissioned a solo work that features her on seven different flutes, recorders and penny whistles. It was performed at Schoenberg Hall in 2009 to a sold out audience and rave reviews. She has been a featured soloist with the Chamber Music Society of California, the American Guitar Society International, and has performed internationally presenting musical styles ranging from ragtime to middle eastern music, chamber music to jazz.
In the recording studio she has recorded on numerous albums with artists such as Linda Ronstadt, (receiving a gold record); harpist Stephanie Bennett; and Angels of Venice on Windham Hill records. Her recorder and ethnic flute playing is heard on many movie soundtracks, particularly featured on “George Lucas in Love”, and the Hallmark film, “The Colt”. In 2007 one of her original compositions was performed with Lion's Pounce Theater in an all original production, to sold out audiences and rave reviews. Her great love of Jazz and ethnic music continues to leads her into new directions which combine elements of dance, new age and world music.
Laura worked with Spiraling Music on the Lullaby Project, Echappees Etheriques and Ethereal Escapes.
Maksim Velichkin is an accomplished cellist, pianist, and harpsichordist who has been active as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestra artist among an international circle featuring venerable conductors and headlining classical stars.
He has worked with James Levine, Kurt Masur, Charles Dutoit, Yuri Temirkanov, Wolfgang Sawallish, Herbert Blomstedt, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Gabor Takacs-Nagy, Sarah Chang, Maxim Vengerov, Yuri Bashmet, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Bobby Mc Ferrin, Joshua Bell, Martha Argerich, Gabriela Montero, Renaud Capucon, Lynn Harrell, Misha Maisky, Frans Helmerson as well as many others. Maksim’s performances have been featured on Radio Swiss Romande, WQED FM in Pittsburgh, National Radio and Television of Uzbekistan. Moreover, as an improviser and interpreter of contemporary and popular music Maksim’s performance and recording career includes credits with noted musical celebrities Stevie Wonder, Chick Corea, Billy Childs, Burt Bacharach, Bobby McFerrin, Dwight Trible, Bitter:Sweet, Chris Botti, Bob James, Josh Groban, Red Elvises, Bernadette Peters, Natalie Cole, Alan Silvestri, Richard Thompson and many others.
Maksim worked with Spiraling Music on Echappees Etheriques and Ethereal Escapes.
Yvon Chausseblanche photographed all the instruments in We Declare!, as well as the gorgeous roses on the Blossoms album. He provides media support services for Spiraling Music Artists products and website.
Yvon creates all of the Spiraling Music videos.
Yvon is married to Merrill Collins.
Clarinetist & Saxophonist
Alethea Lamb is a professional clarinetist and saxophonist. She is known for her diversity of musical styles, namely Jazz, Funk, World and Classical. Her sunny demeanor, rich and warm tone inspires and uplifts both her listeners and fellow musicians alike.
Alethea earned her Bachelorís degree in Music at Huddersfield University in England, and her Masterís degree in Music Composition at Southampton University. After graduating, she spent a year studying East Indian music in New York, followed by a further 3 months in India, and has since played for numerous large-scale chanting and meditation events.
In 2006, Alethea moved to San Francisco, and played with various eclectic ensembles, dabbling in musical styles such as World, Blues, Jazz and Ambient Theater. Since her move to Los Angeles in 2010, Alethea has been a recording artist on the Michael Mollura score of HOT COFFEE, directed by Susan Saladoff for 2011 Sundance Film Festival and HBO. She has played multiple shows at the House of Blues Los Angeles as a backing musician, as well as several other venues around West Hollywood.
In 2011, Alethea created the Prana Music Series with fellow musician, Cheri Jamison, at the beautiful and historic Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens in Los Angeles. In addition to her role as event coordinator, Alethea has performed in several of the concerts, which have ranged from Classical to Jazz to New Age. Alethea has had the privilege of performing alongside world-renowned cellist, Michael Fitzpatrick for two of these concerts, as well as pianist extraordinaire, Merrill Collins. In 2012, Alethea joined the Barrelhouse Wailers, a Hot Jazz and Blues band in Ventura, CA. She performs frequently with them at clubs, private parties and music festivals around Southern California. In 2013, Alethea was a member of a 12-piece Funk Band, The Traveler Band, performing for exclusive events in Los Angeles.
For more info, visit www.alethealamb.com
"Andrew Bennett's voice is even from top to bottom with a clear, crystalline, sweet consistency that, in this day and age, is very rare. His is a beautiful quality, always a pleasure to hear," says voice coach to the stars, Seth Riggs.
Mr. Bennett attended the University of Southern California, studying with Elizabeth Hynes and graduating with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance.
Harrison Crenshaw is in his final year as a voice / music major at Loyola Marymount College. He is a singer in many of the world projects of Spiraling Music. His rendition of Minute of Silence was featured on the global broadcast of the 2010 United Nations International Day of Peace.
Harrison's contributions to Every Man, Woman, and Child made the recordings possible.
A versatile and dynamic entertainer, Michelle Crenshaw has appeared on stages across the country and abroad from the Village Gate and Blue Note in Manhattan to the Folies Bergere in Paris. She has toured Europe several times, receiving rave reviews for performances in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Belgium, Holland and Denmark.
Learn more about Michelle at www.michellecrenshaw.net.
Michelle worked with Spiraling Music on Every Man, Woman, and Child
Phoebe is a professional musician, graphic designer, and fine artist living in Los Angeles, California. Having been encouraged to pursue her passion for the arts at an early age, Phoebe has performed in numerous musical, theater, television and studio productions since the age of three. Music is also the foundation of her visual art inspiration. She believes that art moves the soul and calls its audience to action in some way. She also views artistic collaboration as an opportunity to organically "create + inspire," which serves as her artist manifesto.
Learn more about Phoebe at www.phoebecrenshaw.com.
Phoebe worked with Spiraling Music on PEACE!
Hailed by The New York Times as possessing “A sense of humor, virtuosity, and an ear for musical dialogue”, Michael Fitzpatrick has shared the stage with His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama for the past 17 years as part of the TUNING THE PLANET recording/film/performance platform he is spearheading. He is the recipient of The Prince Charles Award for Outstanding Musicianship conferred by H.R.H. The Prince of Wales.
photo: Susan Weingartner
From The White House to the Royal Palace in Jordan; from the United Nations to the Parliament of World’s Religions in Australia; from performing for Sir George Martin of The Beatles to a performance in a Tibetan temple in the remote tip of Southern India; from the United States Capitol West Lawn with His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama to soloing at the Hollywood Bowl; from the high hills of Spoleto to the mountain peaks of Aspen; from collaborating with Nobel Peace Prize laureates to mentoring inner city youths; and from the historical Baptismal Site at Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan to the musical descent into Mammoth Cave - the largest cave in the world - Michael Fitzpatrick has directly shaped a global vision of tuning the planet.
Michael works with Spiraling Music on the Skywatching album.
Pope Flyne teaches a type of African dance to schoolchildren of all ages, 1-12, called "Kuntum" (pronounced Kundum). Kuntum is a traditional combination of songs, drumming, and dance of the Nzimah Tribe of the Republic of Ghana. Once a year, they celebrate the Kuntum festival, which is a time for healing, repairing broken promises, friendships and marriages, and rejuvenating the strength of the people.
Pope has toured the U.S. and Canada as a drummer, and has recorded several cross-over CDs. He has produced albums of his unique drumming and song, which are distributed through Digital Synergy Enterprises. Pope now resides in Oakland, teaches drumming, and performs around the Bay Area. His website is www.popeflyne.com.
Nicole Garcia studied at the Idyllwild Arts Academy and spent a year at the Boston Conservatory, before earning her BA at UCLA, all on full scholarship. These days she is a world-class violinist, specializing in live performances, recording sessions, and A-list events. As well as playing live shows, Nicole records film scores, records, commercials and video games.
Nicole worked with Spiraling Music on Cinema Musique.
Cellist, Vocalist, Conductor, Composer
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